Quitting your job for CAT preparation
Is it a good idea to quit your job to prepare for CAT? Is the decision easy to defend in PI round if one gets through?
The answer is NO. Cracking CAT with a good percentile doesn’t require you to prepare 10 hours a day. Spending 10 hours a week is more than enough. It’s important to realize that preparing for CAT doesn’t mean that you are learning something new. It’s basic mathematics and English that you have been studying your whole life. You just have to practice enough, get familiar with the type of questions, identify your weak areas and work on them. It’s not as difficult as people claim it to be.
Then why can’t everyone get in? Because there are limited seats available and there might be people who are better than you and you have to compete with them. And this is where most people get confused. They think that spending more time preparing for CAT will help them to get a good percentile. But sadly it won’t. Make peace with that. All you need is structured preparation for 10 – 12 hours a week which one can definitely manage along with their job. If you are not able to crack CAT even after all these efforts for more than once, then don’t run after it. That’s not your strong zone. Look for another alternative to build your career. Don’t try to convince yourself that you might crack it if you quit your job. It’s too big a risk to take and it hardly helps your cause.
If someone you know got a good percentile after quitting their job, they could have got that even if they hadn’t quit. So it doesn’t make sense to leave a job just to prepare for CAT.
There are numerous examples where people have left their jobs and managed to crack CAT and convert their dream B-schools. At the same time, there have been many who along with their jobs, have managed to make it to the best b-schools.
We need to understand that a job or a work experience is a scale for the selectors to measure the practical skills an individual can portray. It is not necessary to have a typical 9-6 job in order for it to be counted as standard work experience. Any work, be it social services, freelancing, writing, travelling, etc. can help an individual gain that practical experience that would help him/her in solving bigger, real-world problem scenarios during & post-MBA. If he/she can justify and convince the interviewers during the interviews how a particular engagement has been life-changing, it’s worth it.
Have a look at this article and the discussions in its comments section – https://insideiim.com/shouldnt-leave-job-preparing-cat/
I had left my first job to engage in something more meaningful while I prepare for my MBA.
Here are a few links that you could use around this question. Our community members have spent a lot of time answering this particular question over the years.
5 Year old video – https://insideiim.com/do-not-quit-your-job-to-prepare-for-cat-2013/
Creator of InsideIIM.com, IIM Indore alumnus
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